Fordham Notes: Bill Baker on Journalism in Crisis

Monday, March 29, 2010

Bill Baker on Journalism in Crisis

The Media: Journalism in Crisis, is a timely documentary that explores how a tough economy and changing technology threaten the survival of responsible journalism in the 21st century. Bill Baker, president emeritus of, returns to public television to trace the history, milestones and possible collapse of America’s traditional news industry.

The Media:
Journalism in Crisis

Sunday, April 4 | 11 p.m.
WNET Channel 13

(check local listings for other
public television stations.

The documentary examines some of the major issues that have led to the near demise of print news–and offers possible strategies for its survival in the digital age. It contrasts the days when the nation relied on three network newscasts and a small group of correspondents, led by Edward R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite, to the modern advent of cable TV, talk radio, and blogs, which provide seemingly unlimited platforms for voices and opinions. A preview is available on

William F. Baker, Ph.D., is the Claudio Aquaviva Chair and Journalist in Residence at Fordham's Graduate School of Education. In the documentary, he provides critical analysis of how instant access demands a continuous stream of new content, and as a consequence the line between “news” and “entertainment” has been blurred. The program includes interviews with on-air personalities Keith Olbermann, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham and many more.

The Media: Journalism in Crisis uses footage from actual news broadcasts and features interviews with journalists and academics. The film concludes with a sobering look at the current state of print news, with unique perspectives from those working on the frontlines, including Tom Curley, president of Associated Press; Bill Keller, managing editor of The New York Times; and Andrew Meagher, content development director at Reuters. The Media: Journalism in Crisis explores how the industry has struggled to adapt for a new generation and raises the question: “if nothing in life is free, then why should news be?”

“During this time of transition, we can’t act quickly enough to preserve America’s tradition of an independent news media,” Baker says. “Newspapers and web journalism need new business models and, more important, new ways in thinking about the value of information.”

The Media: Journalism in Crisis is the centerpiece of a multifaceted project that will include a companion book, written by Neal Cortell, as well as an e-Book, audio book and DVD.

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